History was made this past weekend at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada as Irish fighter Conor McGregor won the UFC Interim Featherweight Title.
‘The Notorious’ one defeated American Chad ‘Money’ Mendes via TKO with 3 seconds left in the 2nd round of their scheduled 5 round fight to lift the coveted strap. McGregor proved agile on his feet , and after surviving being taken down in both rounds, during which exchange Mendes opened up a nasty cut right side of McGregor’s head with a short elbow, the Irishman was able to drop the wrestler with a straight left and follow it up with a flurry of punches which promoted referee Herb Dean to wave the contest off and send a huge majority of the over 16’000 fans in attendance into raptures.
It marks a remarkable rise to fame for the 26 year old, who lost 2 of his first 6 fights, and in the early days split his time between training and working as a plumber in Lucan, Dublin having grown up in Crumlin.
Since his last defeat in November 2010 he has impressively gone on to win 14 straight fights. However it’s not just that, it’s everything that surrounds him. His persona, his aura, his exuberance. He was talking like a champion long before he got the gold around his waist.
He is a quote machine, and always good for a headline. He burst onto the UFC scene stating (about his Irish heritage) ‘We’re not here to take part – We’re here to take over!’.
He says things few others in the sport of mixed martial arts will, and he takes direct aim at current and future opponents with a razor-sharp tongue. Yes he does talk a big game, but so far everything he’s said he has backed up with his actions, and in the world of combat sport that will always put backsides on seats and sell tickets.
It’s been to no surprise that the event (UFC 189) on Saturday night drew gate receipts of well over $7 million which is a new record for a company – no mean feat considering there has been 326 events to date.
The victory means he is only the 4th European fighter in the 21 year history of the company to win a title after the Dutch Hall Of Famer Bas Rutten and Belarusian Andrei Arlovski whom both held the Heavyweight Title, and current women’s Strawweight Champion Poland’s Joanna Jerdrzejczyk.
And if you think he’ll be vanishing from our screens for a while now then think again, as yesterday he was announced as a coach on the 31st series of the fighting reality series The Ultimate Fighter opposite American Urijah Faber, and is looking to have either a defence of his newly won title or a unification bout with Brazilian Jose Aldo (whom is currently out injured) scheduled for the end of the year.